The president of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in office, Carlos Lesmes, maintains his order: either there is a renewal or he will present his resignation soon. Speaking to the media after meeting with the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, Lesmes stated that his resignation will depend on what happens in the “next few days”. And even he has left his attendance at the National Holiday on October 12 up in the air. “If we remain exactly in the current situation, my stay will be meaningless. If there is a rapprochement in the next few days, I will be waiting for it to bear fruit, ”he asserted.
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Lesmes has talked for more than an hour with Reynders, culminating this Friday a visit to Spain in which he has discussed with members of the Government and the opposition, parliamentarians and different actors from the judiciary the paralysis in which the CGPJ finds itself. According to the also president of the Supreme Court, both have agreed on the “extraordinary urgency” that exists to renew the governing body of the judges, which is heading towards four years with the mandate expired.
Lesmes has acknowledged that in recent days he has not seen “any progress” in the negotiations between the Government and the PP, who have to agree on the renewal. However, he has expressed confidence that Reynders’ visit will help “unblock” the situation. “The positions are very bitter and I believe that his visit helps to loosen a certain blockage, to make the positions of both parties more flexible,” he stated.
The commissioner said this Thursday in a meeting with journalists that the “main parties” – the PSOE and the PP – had expressed their “clear commitment” to advance in the renewal of the CGPJ. An assessment that disagrees with what was expressed this Thursday by the Government and the main opposition party after their meetings with the community president. The Conservatives continue to say that they will not sit down to negotiate if the Government does not agree to renew the model for electing members. And in the Executive they maintain that the current system “guarantees that the powers of the State emanate from the citizenry” and does not need to be reformed.
Lesmes has stated that if there is a “real commitment” of the political formations, it must be “made visible”. In other words, he has once again demanded a gesture from the parties: “Public opinion has to know that this is so. Another thing is that they then hold discreet negotiations, which is logical (…). But that they show to Spanish society that they want to do it. Let them say ‘we are going to meet on Wednesday or next week’. That already supposes a demonstration of the will to really resume a negotiation and bring it to a successful conclusion”.
The commissioner asked the parties to put an end to the “worrying blockade” suffered by this body and “immediately afterwards” undertake a reform of the system for electing members so that part of the judges are elected directly by their peers. That is to say, that they comply with the recommendations that the report on the rule of law of the European Commission has been making since 2020. In his opinion, the model must be modified to “comply with the European standard”.
Lesmes agrees with the opening of this “procedure for reflection and reform [sobre el sistema de elección de los vocales]”. And even he has asked that “it be part of the negotiation itself” of the new CGPJ, although he has insisted that the modifications in the system should not be done in a hurry. “It is not an urgent 15-day process. Spain can give itself some time to reflect on these procedures”, he asserted.
In this sense, he has warned of the risk that, with this hypothetical new model, “blocks are transferred ideologically through judicial associations.” “Then we really wouldn’t be fixing anything,” he added.